Why Is L.L. Bean So Expensive? (Explained)

In short: L.L. Bean is expensive because of its focus on durability, social impact, and product sustainability. Their products are designed to be durable, not disposable.

L.L. Bean is a brand that specializes in clothing and outdoor recreation equipment. The company is headquartered where it was founded, in Freeport, Maine.

Whether you’re into fishing, hunting, hiking, or simply enjoying the great outdoors, you must be familiar with the brand. However, many people wonder why L.L. Bean is so expensive.

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1. Focus on durability

A big reason why L.L. Bean is so expensive is that every product they make is thoughtfully designed with the outdoors in mind. It’s about how much longer customers can enjoy them.

In fact, L.L. Bean takes its product testing so seriously, they’re one of the only brands with an in-house testing lab. The lab does rigorous testing to further extend the use of its products.

It has been well-documented that L.L. Beans’ product testing can be brutal, mimicking the harsh environments that their customers will expose the clothing and gear to. 

Even their casual clothing and boots go through this process.

They expect a basic flannel or chamois shirt to hold up to the same rough testing as their camping gear. So, if you purchase from their casual line you can expect it to last a long time.

Once they put their name on a product, you can be sure it will endure many years of use. From zippers and buttons to the strength of the fabric, the most stringent of standards are met.

Since longer-lasting products mean our customers can keep enjoying them year after year, it’s better for them too. And that is also better for the planet we live on (sustainability). 

2. Social impact and product sustainability

When developing products for its customers, L.L. Bean is not just thinking of how much longer customers can enjoy them, but also the lower impact they will have on the environment.

For L.L. Bean, sustainability starts at the drawing table.

Their products are designed to be durable, not disposable. When products last longer, they don’t need to be replaced as often, using fewer natural resources and reducing waste.

Using recycled fabrics not only saves energy and water but also allows L.L. Bean to utilize materials that would otherwise end up in the trash.

For example, switching to recycled polyester fleece in their Mountain Classic Fleece outerwear products has helped keep nearly 40 million plastic bottles out of landfills since 2008.

Whether it’s organic cotton or responsibly sourcing fabrics, these standards are helping L.L. Bean take the next steps towards more sustainable products, hence the higher price.

3. Built upon their history

L.L. Bean has over 100 years of reputation and legions of dedicated fans. As a brand, they need to make sure that their products will withstand what could be very rough conditions. 

Dating back to 1991, the L.L. Bean brand has invested a lot in research and development in order to provide high-performance products that incorporate their own technologies.

For example, L.L. Bean has created duck boots that are equipped with shearling lining. They are perfect for snow in the winter thanks to the lining and extra insulation on the bottom.

Not many brands can say they have been around for the past century. It’s this long-lasting consistency throughout the years that allows L.L. Bean to sell its products at a higher price.

4. Return policy

A big reason why L.L. Bean is expensive is that they stand behind all their products. They are confident that their products will perform as designed. Here is L.L. Bean’s guarantee:

If you are not 100% satisfied with one of our products purchased directly from L.L.Bean, you may return it within one year of purchase for a refund. After one year, we will consider any items for return that are defective due to materials or craftsmanship.

– L.L. Bean

However, to protect customers and make sure that they handle every return or exchange with reasonable fairness, they cannot accept a return or exchange in certain situations.

This used to be a lifetime policy until the company changed its policy in 2018.

The company found that people were taking advantage of the no questions asked policy, and returning items that had been seriously abused, or were even from different manufacturers.

Now, you may only return L.L. Bean products within one year of purchase for a refund. After one year, they will consider any items for return that are defective due to materials or craftsmanship.

As with every change in policy, many L.L. Bean customers were not happy. In fact, the policy change sparked online outrage and plenty of press coverage at one point.

You can read more about their return policy right here.

Good outdoor brand?

Now you know why L.L. Bean is so expensive. While their products are certainly not the cheapest, you can be sure that L.L. Bean’s clothing and footwear are designed to last a long time.

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